We woke early and got on the trail just after having some instant oatmeal. It was less than a mile before we starting seeing more spectacular views. And what surprised me was that I knew these canyons we were seeing were not the main Zion canyon, but numerous ones mostly unexplored, or more accurately probably too remote and inaccessible to see much traffic. I was overwhelmed thinking of all of the space and curious features of the land that I never knew about and that so few people actually see. There's so much more than I ever imagined to Zion National Park and Utah in general.
I really like the juxtaposition of the greenery on the one side and the rock walls on the other.
Here's a picture of Rim springs, looking cleaner than Potato Hollow springs did and by that time it was getting pretty warm out. We filtered a couple of bottles.
We actually came down quite a bit from the rim so that we could get on top of a different outcropping of rock. I didn't expect as much up and down as there was along the trail which would explain why I was sore a few days afterward.
Our first view of Angel's Landing: If you're not familiar with Zion National Park it's the spiny rock in the foreground, it has chains to hang on to as you hike up onto the top part that flattens out.
Closer up on Angel's Landing, another contributing factor to the soreness in my legs in the days following this hike, thought my running and stairmaster sessions would have nipped this in the bud. Other peaks haven't made me so sore, but again, probably it was the up and down with a pack that did it.
View looking up the canyon from atop Angel's Landing
Once we were headed down from Angel's Landing we knew we were home free. Just a couple more miles all downhill and we could take off our packs, get a cold drink and relax in the Virgin River for a while before setting up camp at the Watchmen campground.
Or that was the plan anyway until we accidentally stumbled upon the sweetest swimming hole ever while driving through the old tunnel. I can't say exactly where this $%#@&@# GEM OF A WATERHOLE is, because I'm going to treasure that information from this day out, but let me just show you how sweet it was:
Yes, that's right, we had it to ourselves after just a few minutes. The rock at the back was perfect for jumping off of, not high, but just enough to be tons of fun. Needless to say, it was absolutely refreshing and a complete surprise considering the number of times I've been to Zion and not known this pool was there.
So we abandoned other plans of getting in the Virgin river that day, set up camp and did the easy Riverside walk to the entrance of the Narrows. Beautiful. Yes, I forgot how beautiful that simple little paved trail is when all the plants are in their prime. Lush and beautiful.